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Topic: Beginner's sampler recommendations

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  1. #1

    Talking Beginner's sampler recommendations

    I'm new at this, so I may sound stupid. Buuutt.. I have Acid Pro 4.0f, an Echo Gina 3G, and a Shure KSM27 mic, and I'd like to get started in recording into my PC with the mic, an electric guitar, and a keyboard controller. I don't really know about how I would record the guitar into the Gina with distortion (would I run the guitar to a pedal, then to the Gina?).

    I also don't fully understand the way a keyboard controller will retrieve samples from the computer and play them. What software would I need to run to effectively use a keyboard controller? Acid allows for importing VSTi's, and the Gina 3G has a MIDI in and out.
    From what I understand, I would just plug the controller into the MIDI input of the Gina, then run software that would let me change the instrument the MIDI plays. Is there any specific bundle of samples or a certain sampling program that works best/has the most convenient layout?

    I'd like a wide range of high-quality samples to play with. I'm really just starting out in the PC recording area, but I do play guitar and piano, and I'm eager to get this up and running! A friend referred me to Colossus Quantum Leap. It looks very cool and seems to be packed with alot of features, but I'm still unsure how to use it with Acid. Would I just Insert SoftSynth and select the Colossus?

    Are there any other sampler/sample packs I should look into? I really liked some of the mp3 demos for Colossus, but I really just want to make some professional sounding music.

    Thanks!
    Toby

  2. #2

    Re: Beginner's sampler recommendations

    This is a nice mag for starting out.

    http://www.computermusic.co.uk/main.asp

    At the top, click on the 'Basic' link. That should get you started.

  3. #3

    Re: Beginner's sampler recommendations

    Marty's link is an excellent start.

    "I don't really know about how I would record the guitar into the Gina with distortion (would I run the guitar to a pedal, then to the Gina?)."

    If you have a nice distortion pedal, or something like a pod, that creates the guitar tone you're looking for, then just record that sound into the PC.

    It's also possible to feed a clean guitar sound into your PC and use a software amp modelling program/plugin - for example Amplitube - to do the same thing.

    "I also don't fully understand the way a keyboard controller will retrieve samples from the computer and play them."

    The keyboard controller DOESN'T retrieve the samples. All it does is send the note names (eg C1, D#5 etc.,), how hard you played them (velocity value), when you stopped playing (note off) etc. This is 'midi' data, which makes no sound, but can be 'read' and acted upon by most computer based musical instruments.

    "From what I understand, I would just plug the controller into the MIDI input of the Gina, then run software that would let me change the instrument the MIDI plays."

    Right. Midi Out of controller to midi In of Gina. The Gina midi input data can then be addressed to 'virtual' synthesizers, samplers, sequencers etc., in the computer.

    "A friend referred me to Colossus Quantum Leap."

    That'd be a great way to start. Colossus is like a high quality sound module inside your PC. You can't put your own sounds into it, but the ones that are there are better than most, and cover a wide musical pallet. A good core upon which to base an expanding library.

    "I'm still unsure how to use it with Acid. Would I just Insert SoftSynth and select the Colossus?"

    Yes, but...I have to say....Acid wouldn't be my first choice for a program in which to write music. Mind you, that depends much on your music style. If you're into loops, dancey/trancey stuff - Acid can be wonderful, inspiring and fast. On the other hand, if you're into writing specific melodies and harmonies, Acid can actually take longer to use than other programs because it's strength is primarily in loop-based composition rather than midi.

    Midi support is kind of secondary with Acid. Yes, it's there - and it's improved heaps in the last couple of revisions - but it's nowhere near as sophisticated as programs which have been designed around the midi spec from the ground up.

    Hey. You have Acid now, and it should run a VSTi like Colossus, so try Acid and see how you feel about its midi editing facilities. If it seems awkward or limited, programs like Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Logic, Fruity Loops, Tracktion etc., may be worth looking into for more flexibility on the midi side.

    "Are there any other sampler/sample packs I should look into?"

    The most important question here is 'What KIND of music do you want to create?'

    Different answers to that question will get you sent in different directions for sampler/sampler packs.

  4. #4

    Re: Beginner's sampler recommendations

    Wow thanks for the detailed response.

    Colossus sounds pretty simple, I can just install it and plug in my keyboard controller and play into Sonar or Acid or whatever works. But what is a different sampler? I read about GigaStudio and Stylus RMX and HaLion, but what are these? If I were to get a sampler other than Colossus that I could expand upon what would I go for?

    I'd like to make a standard 5 man electric guitar/bass guitar/drums/keyboard/singer type band sound, with distortion. Thanks for referring me to Amplitube, it sounds awesome.

    Thanks!
    Toby

  5. #5

    Re: Beginner's sampler recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobuscus
    Wow thanks for the detailed response.

    Colossus sounds pretty simple, I can just install it and plug in my keyboard controller and play into Sonar or Acid or whatever works. But what is a different sampler? I read about GigaStudio and Stylus RMX and HaLion, but what are these? If I were to get a sampler other than Colossus that I could expand upon what would I go for?

    I'd like to make a standard 5 man electric guitar/bass guitar/drums/keyboard/singer type band sound, with distortion. Thanks for referring me to Amplitube, it sounds awesome.

    Thanks!
    Toby
    Understand that Colossus is a ROMpler running inside the sample engine called Kompakt. A lot of ROMplers these days are using Kompakt whihc is deigned by Native Instruments.

    Their next step up is called Kontakt 2.

    Stylus RMX is also a ROMpler in that it comes with it's owned sounds. You can tweak the sounds but only via the control on the interface.

    A sampler will allow you to actuyally take the raw sample data and alter it if you want.

    Other samplers would be

    Gigastudio
    Exs-24 (Logic)
    HALion (Steinberg's)
    Mach 5 (MOTUs)

    These allow loading of their own sample format as well as AKAI format, etc.

    So once you get Colossus (which is Kompakt) then I think you can pay an upgrade price to get Kontakt if you want a dedicated sampler, as compared to a ROMpler.

  6. #6

    Re: Beginner's sampler recommendations

    How would I run the Amplitube, would I have to plug in a guitar to be able to load it up and look at it? Or is it an exe I could just run and look at?

    Annd.. I would only need Kontakt if I purchased additional sounds for my library? And I could just load up Native Instruments packs and put midi to them?

    I have too many questions, I'll read more on each of these things tomorrow. Hehe.

    Thanks for your help!
    Toby

  7. #7

    Re: Beginner's sampler recommendations

    "How would I run the Amplitube"

    Amplitube comes in a couple of flavours. One is 'Live' - which is a stand alone. PlLoad it, plug your guitar in, and go. The other is a VST 'plug in' which means you need a VST host program (like Acid, a sequencer or a couple of specially designed hosts) . As a plugin, you load Amplitube into the host like you would an effect, and run your guitar through it that way. Live is an easier way to get familiar.

    "I would only need Kontakt if I purchased additional sounds for my library? And I could just load up Native Instruments packs and put midi to them?"

    Pretty much. No need for Kontakt if you're just using the Colossus instrument, but many other sample libraries are designed to run in a sampler engine like Kontakt 2, Hal 3, Gigastudio 3, Mach 5.

    If you aren't looking for any specific sound, Colossus will probably keep you busy for a long time though

  8. #8

    Re: Beginner's sampler recommendations

    I'd say you might be interested in this magazine, which is going to the printer in a couple of weeks:

    www.VirtualInstrumentsmag.com

    ...except that would be obnoxious self-promotion, and I wouldn't stoop to that.

  9. #9

    Re: Beginner's sampler recommendations

    The Colossus sounds great, but I'm afraid I won't get it running and something will go horribly wrong. I don't have any experience with MIDI, and on acid I would just record track over track on the acoustic to a looped beat.

    Do the notes play just as fast in real time as they do on a normal keyboard like a Triton? I'd be scared of getting delay, or it pausing while I'm playing so the computer can catch up. Does that happen? hehe.

  10. #10

    Re: Beginner's sampler recommendations

    "Do the notes play just as fast in real time as they do on a normal keyboard like a Triton?"

    they should - if everything's working properly.

    "I'd be scared of getting delay."

    That depends largely on your audio card.

    "pausing while I'm playing so the computer can catch up"

    That kind of pause is pretty rare these days. You'd only get it by totally wiping out your CPU overhead, and before you got that far you're more likely to notice the odd break/click/pop in your audio stream.

    What kind of spec is your PC?

    Latency/delay from one VSTi to another does vary, but a big lump of the delay in any of them is common - from the system's audio interface.

    Why not download any demo vsti and see how it goes in your setup. If you can live with any noticeable delay, and your spec is up to the recommended for Colossus, then you're pretty safe to go with it.

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